Need some perspective

bookbug

New member
Need some perspective from people who understand. Sorry this is likely to be rather lengthy.

Back story:

I was part of a long term MFF triad that only ended upon the death of our spouse. She and I are still in close contact, but felt like we needed to explore the world on our own after his death. I reunited with a childhood friend to whom I've always felt very close, although life took us in different directions and our contact was sporadic. It was fantastic. Turns out she and her husband had, had an ongoing threesome with a woman over a period of time. She did not live with them. It came to an end because the woman had a mood disorder that became very difficult to contend with. It was very tough on my friend because she loved this woman; my friend's husband liked her well enough, but did not love her.

So when I came into their lives my friend's husband and I found we had great connection, and the triad scenario comes up. I'd had such a good experience that I was eager to experience the magic again. My friend was a little worried given their previous experience but supported the idea. Once we began discussing my moving in, my friend began painting beautiful mental images, speaking of a moonlight marriage, rings, and tattoos. If I had any reservations she erased them.

Everything went well at first. My friend's husband was so sure this would be a beautiful thing because he loved his wife, I loved his wife, and he and I had a very strong connection. And yes, our connection quickly became love. And that's when it hit the fan. Apparently, it was all okay, when we were just fucking, but when he and I developed a love for one another, my friend freaked. It was all downhill from that point and no matter what we tried, there was no fixing it. We tried for the better part of a year, but she decided that he had betrayed her in coming to love another woman. (I really wonder what she thought was going to happen.) Throughout the downhill, which included a cessation of sex (months ago), I kept trying to remove myself from the equation, but neither one wanted that. The unfortunate truth is that my presence seems to have exposed problems in their marriage that they both knew would not be fixed with my leaving. However, I finally did leave.

So although we are still in close contact (despite everything) I find myself living alone, and their marriage is full of contention, no real intimacy, with underlying fears of divorce. Oddly enough my friend doesn't seem to want me out of her life. And the bond I have with her husband is stronger than ever. (The sad truth is that he and I are more compatible than they are. After being privy to their private lives, I have no idea how they made their marriage work as long as they did. They are so different from one another.) I still love them both. (I mean really, how do you “un-love” someone?)

I know her husband will not divorce my friend. He believes that once you make a commitment you stand by your word. (One of the reasons I love him, although it's definitely not working in my favor at the moment.) And they have two children. My friend is the wild card in the divorce scenario. She does not believe that he can love her as much as he ever did and love me too, and she seems unable to re-frame this so it is any way acceptable. The knowledge of the existence of his love for me is intolerable. It matters not that he has done everything she's asked in regard to me. He offered to cut off all contact with me, but my friend regarded that as harsh and told him it wasn't necessary (after harping on him for weeks after I moved out about how he had more intimate communication with me than her. Of course it doesn't help that she has little interest in discussing the topics that interest him. That was a problem before I entered the picture). My friend is in school at the moment, and her husband fears that once she is finished with it, she will leave.

So I here I sit loving them both, mourning what could have been. And the truth of the matter is if my friend did divorce her husband, he and I would be together. Although he knows it's unfair to ask me, her husband would like me to wait before getting on with my life to see what happens. While my most fervent desire is to be with him (no actually, my most fervent desire would be to have what the three of us initially had, but I've given up hope on that), I'm finding it psychologically difficult to do that. First of all, it makes me feel like a vulture, hoping something bad will happen to them (although honestly their marriage is so injured that I'm not sure divorce would be that bad). Secondly, it makes me hold out hope for something that may not come to pass, which will only add yet another layer of disappointment and pain on to what I've already suffered.

But the fact of the matter is the love I have for this man is like a siren song. I keep trying to think about just dating, in order to get another perspective. I went out with one guy a couple of times, and it really didn't work for me. I can't tell if he just wasn't the right guy, or if I'm just too fucked up emotionally to deal with it. But I know I'm not going to un-love my friend's husband, (or her for that matter although she has made me very sad and at times angry), so while yes, it may come to pass that they will divorce, and I will have the man I desire, if they do not, I must be able to move forward at some point in spite of the the strongest emotional tie I've ever experienced in my life. I've got no freaking clue how to do that.

With all of the emotions involved and unlikely to change, it's like we're still in a triad, albeit the most fucked up one on the face of the planet.

So any perspective, advice, insight would be wholly appreciated.
 

Jericka

New member
That sounds painful, and I am sorry.

I do have a couple questions though. It looks like MFF polyfi triads are the way you do poly? That seems to be the way you have settled in comfortably in the past. Is that also the form that the guy in the picture would be looking for, and is his request for you to hold on and wait related to that?
 

bookbug

New member
That sounds painful, and I am sorry.

I do have a couple questions though. It looks like MFF polyfi triads are the way you do poly? That seems to be the way you have settled in comfortably in the past. Is that also the form that the guy in the picture would be looking for, and is his request for you to hold on and wait related to that?

The MFF triad has been my only experience with poly, but it lasted for the better part of two decades. So I haven't had experience with other versions.

As for the guy ~ their first experience with the threesome was promoted by my friend; not him. Meeting me and finding us so compatible he regards more as being struck by lightning ~ an accident rather than being basically poly himself. He had said he'd always felt alone in the world, but because he and I are so alike, meeting me changed all of that. (And yes, I feel the same way.) That said, he no way wanted to give up his wife for me. In fact before she freaked, his affection for her grew. He immediately understood that the two of us were not interchangeable (sadly she did not). So I would suspect our relationship, should it come to pass, would be basically monogamous unless lightning were to strike twice.
 

nycindie

Active member
What a load of drama. You can't wait for him; it is selfish of him to ask that. Don't let their toxic relationship become a part of your life. Move on. Date. Date many many people. Mourn the loss, but start creating your own life without them. Let it just be a friendship. Love is infinite, and you will find others to love, whether they are partnered, male, female, poly or not. Take the steps, walk away.
 

BigGuy

New member
Very sorry to hear about your situation.

In my experience, its near to impossible to move forward into the future when you are tied to the past. In order to move on, you may have to cut all ties with them for your own emotional health.

Definitely not an easy thing to do, but it may be something you'll have to do.
 

bookbug

New member
Yeah, you're telling me what I know logically. :) I guess, I'm trying to figure out how to move forward and still leave the door open should the opportunity come to pass ~ either through a change of heart (not gonna happen unless a miracle occurs) or divorce.
 

Phy

Member
I am sorry that you are hurting.

But if you really want to leave that door open, bear in mind that you will invite all of this quite difficult past into your new relationship with him. I don't think that you will manage to stay friends with her. She doesn't sound like she would be able to tolerate it. He and you will always have to deal with the way things went with her and you two.

As you said: how to un-love someone? You will hurt from this if you stay involved, even if it's just with him, because she can't be part of it as well but will always be on your and his mind. For your own emotional health, make a clear cut, hurt as much as this situation will inflict on you and try to find another love that is free of all this drama and burdened history.

I hope you can figure it out. I know logical advice tends to be easily given and how difficult it is to rule your heart out of the equation. Despite that, good luck.
 

risingscarlet

New member
(((Hugs)))

Bookbug - I'm so sorry for what you are going through. As I read your story I felt a real connection to you because of my experiences over the last year. I was part of a MFFM quad which was powerfully passionate and eventually exploded brilliantly due to inherent personality clashes. We each contributed our own issues to the mix, and my husband and I discovered some marital issues of our own but one of the most significant problems with the quad was the terrible quality of the other couple's marriage.

When we first became involved Star and Carter* gave the impression of a stable open marriage, and were very much convinced themselves even that they were in a healthy relationship. Over the next months though we began to discover the cracks in their foundation, each of which my husband Jute and I tried to rationalize away because we deeply loved them by then and wanted the poly family of our dreams so badly.

I'll avoid the sordid details, but long story short they are divorcing now, and Jute and I were separated for a few weeks, but are now together and happy again. Star and Carter get along much better as friends than spouses. Jute is still trying to be friends with them and is still mourning the relationship I think. I can be friendly with them but we are not close friends. Personally I finally decided the drama was too unhealthy for me to be close to them, even though I miss them very much. I decided I needed to move on.

I would be there for them in a heartbeat if they needed help. I know what you mean about not being unable to 'un love' another. But I also had to decide to take care of myself. I couldn't wait (potentially a lifetime) to see if either of them could become healthy for me to have a relationship with. I couldn't put myself on hold while they were figuring out their issues, and trying to do so was literally causing me to question my sanity.

In my opinion these people need to become your distant friends for your own good. Focus on yourself, and what you've learned from this experience for a while. Throw yourself into a new project or activity. Meet new people, but you don't need to date others if you're not ready to do so. It took me a while to even feel ready to be with my husband again. About 6 months from their exit I have just now began developing a relationship with someone I've known a long time prior. Dating someone brand new at this point is probably beyond my emotional capacity.

Good luck and Blessed Be

*all names changed for the sake of everyone's privacy
 

risingscarlet

New member
wrote a beautiful reply yesterday and no idea where it went

Bedbug,

My sympathies on what you are going through. I tried to write you yesterday, but I don't know where that reply has gone... I shall try again.

When I read about your situation I felt so much empathy for you, I feel like your situation mirrors some of the things I have experienced over the last year. I was involved with a MFFM quad which was powerfully passionate and ended up brilliantly exploding. The relationship was lost due to each of us having issues leading to irreconcilable personality differences. One of the largest factors was the inherent instability of the other couple's marriage.

Star and Carter* gave Jute and I the impression that they had a stable happy open marriage initially, and by the time the cracks in their foundation showed up we were all desperately in love enough to try to rationalize them away. It's not that they intentionally mislead us... they didn't even realize how unhealthy their relationship even was. Without delving into the sordid details, the result was our quad falling apart.

They are divorcing. From what I can tell they get along better now than they ever did while married. Each of them has found another partner, and are seeking monogamy with their respective partners. Star has told me she feels like she was actually never polyamorous, rather she was just unhappy with her marriage and looking for something better. Jute is still trying to be friends with them both and I can see that causing him heartache. I am friendly with them but do not want them to be close in my life. I finally realized the drama was too unhealthy for me and I needed to take care of myself.

I would still be there for either of them in a heartbeat if they needed my help. I know exactly what you mean about being unable to 'un love' another. However my advice is to move them to the outer circle of your life, even as your heart is crying about the move. You need to take care of yourself and staying so close to the situation is tearing up your soul. You can't wait in limbo for potentially a lifetime to see if they resolve their issues. I think you should step back and consider what you've learned about yourself and relationships for a little bit. Throw yourself into a new activity or interest. Nurture some other relationships... your other friends and loved ones, family or new people you'd like to know. You don't have to date until you're ready. Personally I had to step out of relationships, including my marriage for a bit. Six months after the dust settled over the quad, I'm starting to explore a love match with someone who's been a friend for quite some time. Even now, I don't think if a brand new person entered my life I'd be ready to date them yet.

I wish you well with your endeavors. Have peace.
Scarlet

*all names changed for everyone's privacy
 

bookbug

New member
I am sorry that you are hurting.

As you said: how to un-love someone? You will hurt from this if you stay involved, even if it's just with him, because she can't be part of it as well but will always be on your and his mind.

Yes, you're right. Not to mention their children (who I also became well-attached to over the last year).

I hope you can figure it out. I know logical advice tends to be easily given and how difficult it is to rule your heart out of the equation. Despite that, good luck.

It's good to hear logic from others far removed from the situation. When such strong emotions are involved, it's hard to know if I'm analyzing well. And I appreciate your compassion.

While the pain waxes and wanes, today I am doing better. Thank you.
 

bookbug

New member
Bookbug - I'm so sorry for what you are going through. As I read your story I felt a real connection to you because of my experiences over the last year. I was part of a MFFM quad which was powerfully passionate and eventually exploded brilliantly due to inherent personality clashes. We each contributed our own issues to the mix, and my husband and I discovered some marital issues of our own but one of the most significant problems with the quad was the terrible quality of the other couple's marriage.

I am so sorry to hear that. I'd wondered if quads were possibly more stable given equal number of men and women, but yeah, I can see where an unstable marriage as in your situation would be just as damaging.

Over the next months though we began to discover the cracks in their foundation, each of which my husband Jute and I tried to rationalize away because we deeply loved them by then and wanted the poly family of our dreams so badly.

Those pictures we paint for ourselves are truly beautiful, aren't they?

I'll avoid the sordid details, but long story short they are divorcing now, and Jute and I were separated for a few weeks, but are now together and happy again.

I'm so glad you were able to reclaim your relationship with Jute. It must have been a very tough period.

I would be there for them in a heartbeat if they needed help. I know what you mean about not being unable to 'un love' another.

That is the crux. I keep thinking that this all ought to be fixable since we do love one another. But yes, that is the road to insanity.

In my opinion these people need to become your distant friends for your own good. Focus on yourself, and what you've learned from this experience for a while. Throw yourself into a new project or activity. Meet new people, but you don't need to date others if you're not ready to do so. It took me a while to even feel ready to be with my husband again. About 6 months from their exit I have just now began developing a relationship with someone I've known a long time prior. Dating someone brand new at this point is probably beyond my emotional capacity.

I think you're right about me developing new interests, but not worrying about dating yet. It's just too soon. I always want logic to care of these things, but sometimes, it just takes time.

Thanks so much for sharing your story. Hearing others' experiences does help!
 

nycindie

Active member
I'd wondered if quads were possibly more stable given equal number of men and women...

It's not the number of people involved or poly configuration that make relationships stable, it is the people themselves. Just about any configuration can work well if the players are healthy in their approach, self-aware, honest, and willing to do the necessary work.

In your case, the healthiest and most nurturing thing to do, for yourself as well as for them, is to walk away and let them tend to their difficulties. You leave the door open by finding strength within yourself to take care of your needs and simply allowing for possibility; waiting for them and putting your life on hold is NOT the way to do it. Doing so will only keep you stuck and, eventually, resentful.
 

risingscarlet

New member
It's not the number of people involved or poly configuration that make relationships stable, it is the people themselves. Just about any configuration can work well if the players are healthy in their approach, self-aware, honest, and willing to do the necessary work.


Agreed, and well said.
 

dragonflysky

New member
It could be that hanging in there as he is asking would only serve to delay them having to face and deal with their relationship issues. If he has you waiting on the side....instead of moving things along to be with you...he might just delay making some difficult choices/decisions. If he doesn't have you as a "crutch"...or stand-by", he may face the realities of their problems much quicker. Just a thought........ Also, he wants you to wait to see what happens.....in terms of whether or not she leaves him when she finishes school? I think not! Wouldn't you rather know he chose you instead of accepted you AFTER SHE decided what SHE was doing??


Not an easy decision to make by any means. ((Hugs))
 
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bookbug

New member
It's not the number of people involved or poly configuration that make relationships stable, it is the people themselves. Just about any configuration can work well if the players are healthy in their approach, self-aware, honest, and willing to do the necessary work.

Yes, I can see the logic of that, which is how I operate ~ logic. However, many people do not live there, it's all about just the emotions with little reasoning behind them. During the deterioration, my friend intimated several times that she would have coped better in a quad situation. Although she never said it, I kept getting the feeling that she felt her husband didn't have enough love for both of us, but if another male were involved, it would have balanced out. Yeah, I don't get it. But this is what led me to wonder. I learned a long time ago that most people's minds do not work like mine.

In your case, the healthiest and most nurturing thing to do, for yourself as well as for them, is to walk away and let them tend to their difficulties.

I moved out of the house 2 months ago, and in the last 72 hours some progress has finally been made. For the first time ever, my friend's husband finally got her to acknowledge that I was not the sole source of the problems between them. (I do think I catalyzed their acknowledgement of problems.) She also finally sanctioned the friendship between he and I. Since I left, she had continued to try to dismantle even the basic friendship between he and I. Interestingly enough, the way the sanctioning came about is for him to offer to cut off all contact with me on two different occasions in the last ten days. Each time she has said no. My theory is that faced with that option, she realized that cutting me out of their lives entirely would actually not fix a damn thing. And then she admitted that she was not ready to give me up.

My friend's birthday and mine are on the same day ~ tomorrow ~ and she and I are spending the day together.

You leave the door open by finding strength within yourself to take care of your needs and simply allowing for possibility; waiting for them and putting your life on hold is NOT the way to do it. Doing so will only keep you stuck and, eventually, resentful.

It's a psychological maze, sometimes isn't it? Since neither of them are letting me go, so to speak, (and likewise, I don't want to be completely out of their lives, I just want us all to be happy) it just occurred to me in responding to you that I need to re-frame this whole situation. I need to let go of the loss, and start from here, today. See what happens.

My friend's husband, revealed that he will have me back one way or another (and he hopes it is with his wife in agreement). However, he realizes if their specific issues cannot be remedied, then it may be without her as well. That said, he wants to give her a chance to grow.

So in the meantime, I will live. Take where we are now as the basis, and let it be as it is, and if anything manifests, let it grow (or re-grow) in its own time.

Thank you for offering your perspective on "leaving the door open". Sometimes, it's hard to see that certain things are not mutually exclusive.
 

bookbug

New member
It could be that hanging in there as he is asking would only serve to delay them having to face and deal with their relationship issues. If he has you waiting on the side....instead of moving things along to be with you...he might just delay making some difficult choices/decisions. If he doesn't have you as a "crutch"...or stand-by", he may face the realities of their problems much quicker.

Yes, I probably should have moved out prior to this. I've now been gone two months, and just now, she has finally acknowledged there were problems between them that have nothing to do with me. I think she had to experience time without me in order to realize that. But of course, feelings take forever to work through....

Just a thought........ Also, he wants you to wait to see what happens.....in terms of whether or not she leaves him when she finishes school? I think not! Wouldn't you rather know he chose you instead of accepted you AFTER SHE decided what SHE was doing??

I knew going in that should this fail, his primary responsibility was to his wife and children. I can't fault him for that. He's never lied to me. He feels that he must provide every opportunity for reconciliation. That said, part of their ability to live an amiable existence in the future will partially depend on her understanding and acceptance that he loves me as well as her. He'll do all she asks configuration-wise, but if she loves him, she's going to have accept who he has become. (Loving me, while a primary focus, isn't all of their problem by any means.)

In any case, he has never wanted the question framed as him having to make a choice between she and I ~ although she kept pushing for exactly that. But I know and he knows that people are not interchangeable. (She seems to think if I had a new guy, I'd get over the love I have her husband, like getting a new puppy to get over the loss of the old puppy.)

In the last day or two, her husband informed me that he intends to have me return to his life at some point in time. I want this too. And while I know he's not comfortable with the idea of me spending time with another guy, he said whatever happens in between is unimportant. So I view this as an acceptance of sorts. Understanding that I can't keep my life on hold, but wanting me to keep the door open. Which I will gladly do.


Not an easy decision to make by any means. ((Hugs))

With the help of the fine people here, I am finally getting my head where I want it to be. Thank you!
 

risingscarlet

New member
I kept getting the feeling that she felt her husband didn't have enough love for both of us,

That you think she feels this way tells me that she may just not be able to emotionally handle the relationship. Love is not finite, and as long as she feels it is she is going to take issue with her husband's dividing his attentions.


She also finally sanctioned the friendship between he and I. Since I left, she had continued to try to dismantle even the basic friendship between he and I... she realized that cutting me out of their lives entirely would actually not fix a damn thing. And then she admitted that she was not ready to give me up.

This reminds me so much of my former quad. My girlfriend would alternately extend and retract her 'permission' for the relationship between my boyfriend and I, and she would 'break up with' and then reunite with me repeatedly. It tore our hearts to shreds. Reading this just made me sad.

My friend's husband, revealed that he will have me back one way or another (and he hopes it is with his wife in agreement). However, he realizes if their specific issues cannot be remedied, then it may be without her as well. That said, he wants to give her a chance to grow.

I'm sorry but it sounds to me that he is choosing to leave you hanging because he doesn't want to let either of you go. Consider if that's something you're willing to accept.

Good luck to you. Happy Birthday.
 

bookbug

New member
That you think she feels this way tells me that she may just not be able to emotionally handle the relationship. Love is not finite, and as long as she feels it is she is going to take issue with her husband's dividing his attentions.

Agreed. That said, it appears she has now become somewhat accepting of the friendship aspect. I think she has a big heart, but she is a very wounded person due to her upbringing.

This reminds me so much of my former quad. My girlfriend would alternately extend and retract her 'permission' for the relationship between my boyfriend and I, and she would 'break up with' and then reunite with me repeatedly. It tore our hearts to shreds. Reading this just made me sad.

Yes. The back and forth would be horrible. Our experience went like this: She was unhappy / insecure and would suggest "A" as a solution. So we'd do "A". Nope that didn't fix it, so she would say well, if you'd just do "B". And that didn't fix it. And each of these suggestions further limited the ability of myself and her husband to express our love for one another. Until we were down to a basic platonic relationship. We never got anything back as you describe. Just a downward spiral. Until he offered to end all contact with me. Here we actually gained something ~ the acceptance of our friendship.

He considered making the offer to cut contact with me a huge gamble, and yet felt there was nowhere else to go. If she had taken him up on it, he would have followed through, thinking that with me totally removed from the picture, she would no longer have any excuses and would have to face their issues. Thus far, she has used me as a convenient excuse for failing to acknowledge their problems.

I'm sorry but it sounds to me that he is choosing to leave you hanging because he doesn't want to let either of you go. Consider if that's something you're willing to accept.

Good luck to you. Happy Birthday.

Thanks for the birthday wishes!

If it were up to me, I'd have the triad we started out with. I came from a MFF triad (vee formation) that worked very well and know how beautiful it can be when all members love one another and are well-adjusted. I totally understand him not wanting to let either of us go. If I were faced with the same decision, I wouldn't want to choose either. He loves us both, and hasn't figured out how to un-love either of us.

And actually his revelation that he intends to have me back at some point was welcome news, because the understanding I'd been working under due to our initial agreement is that if didn't work out, I'd be sacrificed and she would remain. As it turns out, it isn't that simple. He cannot go back to where they were before. He cannot just forget me.

Yes, the practical application sucks, and it does not change my circumstances dramatically at this point, but psychologically, it did me some good to know I wasn't that easily sacrificed, and that his love for me is deep enought that he has put 13 years of marriage on the line.

The fact of the matter is, I do not want to let him go either. So knowing this, I just have to work that into how I get on my with life. I wanted to leave that door open anyway. Now I know I have a legitimate reason for doing so than simply my own personal hope. I am far more relaxed than I was when I originally authored this post.
 

risingscarlet

New member
I'm glad you are feeling more relaxed and content with the situation, and hope all works out well for you and your partners. I'm hoping you keep us up to date on things too, because I'm exceedingly curious how this will turn out for you.

Take Care.
 

bookbug

New member
I'm glad you are feeling more relaxed and content with the situation, and hope all works out well for you and your partners. I'm hoping you keep us up to date on things too, because I'm exceedingly curious how this will turn out for you.

Take Care.

I am exceedingly curious too! :)

Interestingly enough, after he revealed his long term goal / hope about having me back, I spent the day with her and she and I had a heart to heart about where some things went wrong, and about rebuilding our relationship. (No, she is not interested in resuming a triad. But as one poster here shared, his wife changed her mind about poly after 6 years, so her husband and I have a glimmer. LOL!) She and I connected in a way that we have not for a very long time. It was a great day!

They had sought marriage counseling (no poly friendly counselor on their insurance) and she revealed that naturally, he suggested they dump me from their lives. Instead, they both decided to dump him.

In any case, I feel there is a good chance that we will eventually have a very good, close relationship of some kind, even if we do not get back to the full triad. That is far better than the pain we have all been suffering.
 
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